The Entrepreneurship Campus is an activity within the framework of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

Environmental Impacts of Agriculture

Environmental impacts of agriculture

Agriculture is one of the most essential sectors in sustaining human life, yet agricultural practices employed all around the world have a vast impact on the environment and natural resources.

Therefore, when thinking about an idea or project that’s related to this sector, it would important to think innovatively. This means to offer a solution without creating new problems. On the contrary, you can be innovative by trying to fix the existing issues. If you have an idea or project don’t hesitate to join the Entrepreneurship Campus competitions.

Agriculture at the same time contributes to climate change and  is affected by climate change

As the world population is rising, the need for more agricultural land is rising accordingly. Hence, the numerous unsustainable environmental costs are rising too, the need for land is the largest cost.

Based on the World Bank data, about 37.4 percent of the world’s total land area was considered agricultural land in 2016.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), over the next 30 years, many agriculture-related environmental problems will remain serious. However, some problems may deepen more slowly than in the past and some may even be reversed.


The demand for agricultural land is the biggest cause of forest loss. Forests worldwide are home to thousands of animal and plant species and habitat destruction has also increased human-wildlife conflict.

According to WWF, around half of the world’s original forests have disappeared, and they are still being removed at a rate 10x higher than any possible level of regrowth. As tropical forests contain at least half the Earth’s species, the clearance of some 17 million hectares each year is a dramatic loss.

Water consumption and pollution
Irrigated agriculture is the largest users of water globally.
Besides the high demand for land, agriculture is highly dependent on water. Water is crucial both for crop and animal farming. Currently, there are various issues related both to agriculture and water. Climate change is causing water constraints in many agricultural regions. Farmers face competition from growing urban areas when it comes to water consumption.

Meanwhile, salination due to the rising sea levels is expected to have an impact both on water and land.
In the meantime, while the sector water risks, it is a major polluter of groundwater and waterways.
Think about optimizing the use of water especially if you live in a dry area.

Soil degradation
According to WWF, half of the topsoil on the planet has been lost in the last 150 years. In addition to erosion, soil quality is affected by other aspects of agriculture.


Sustainable solutions would help to intensify production while reducing the impacts of agriculture on the environment. The Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change recommend a list of steps to achieve the above-mentioned goal.

  • Develop, enable and reward multi-benefit farming systems that enable more productive and resilient livelihoods and ecosystems
  • Present strategies for minimizing ecosystem degradation and rehabilitating degraded environments, with emphasis on community-designed plans.
  • Empower marginalized food producers (particularly women) to increase the productivity of a range of appropriate crops by strengthening land and water rights, increasing access to markets, finance and insurance, and enhancing local capacity (for example through farmer and community-based organizations).
  • Identify and modify subsidies (such as for water and electricity) that provide incentives for farmers to continue agricultural practices that deplete water supplies or destroy native ecosystems.
  • Introduce compensation schemes that target the poor.
  • Couple economic incentives for sustainable intensification of agriculture with strengthening governance of land tenure and land zoning to prevent further loss of forests, wetlands, and grasslands.

Reading suggestion: How to Extend Harvest Time?

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  1. Indeed, agriculture is regarded as one of the basic processes of promoting economic growth and development of a nation and at the same time some key causes of climate change and environmental social issues. One of the ways to decrease this agricultural social problem is to promote technological and mechanized farming whereby rural farmers can have more access to finance and mechanized agricultural equipment.

  2. Adeosun Oluwatosin

    11.07.2019 · Reply

    The key to protecting the environment against the harmful effects of extensive and unsafe agricultural practices is through sustainable practices. Sustainable farming incorporates both the conservation of available resources as well as employing farming practices aimed at environmental protection.

  3. At the country side near Lake Kyoga, where i come from; all these issues are alarming; however, the recommendable strategies especially strategy 3,4,5 would really help reduce the issues noted to an acceptably low levels in rural Africa. I look forward to coming up with a sustainable agricultural idea some day.

  4. It is a sad state of affairs but not too late. Our water reservoirs need to be safe and natural water sources need to be protected from pollution.

    Indeed if safe agricultural procedures are used we won’t lose our resources like land to pollution. My call too is for agro – innovators to ensure they do not solve a problem by creating a bigger one. @Damini Bookhun

  5. Greetings, I am happy to tell that permaculture(which is also my idea in this competition, please feel free to read, vote and comment, I will be very grateful- ) solves almost all the above problems and many multiple others.

    According to some sources, agriculture accounts for 70% of global water usage and 30% of greenhouse gases emissions. To solve this, permaculture uses reuses water every time. Rain water is used and this water is also used for animals too. Renewable energy is used and no synthetic fertilizers are used.

    Concerning the problem of deforestation and soil degradation, permaculture is biomimicry, that is it mimics nature by producing crops in the way nature does. That is why permaculture is sometimes called agroecology. In fact, permaculture heals the soils with this non artificial way of agriculture.

    Permaculture also uses less resources to produce more and hence tackles the issue of increasing world population, alleviating the problem of famine in some place in the world.

    To conclude, permaculture is capable of solving so many global problems. There are other organic/bio methods of agriculture to permaculture, but permaculture remains one of the top.
    If you wish to know more, please take a look at my idea,
    Thank you!

  6. This is absolutely right agriculture is the main source to human, and situation is really worsen in my country to the extend that in Namibia where I come from the government has declared it as an urgent matter that stakeholder have to get involved. @lambisia thank you that you have tagged damini,

  7. This is absolutely right in the sense that agriculture and forestry is the main source to human, and situation is really worsen in my country to the extend that in Nigeria, but we need to avoid deforestation

  8. I wonder why young innovators don’t like embracing goal 15: Life on Land: We need it to foster our agriculture back. We need to plant trees and protect our environment like Muhammed Foundation IV in Morocco by Princess Lasna

    entrepreneur-essien (2019 Innovative Entrant in Bets Idea Category)

  9. I think “Environmental Impact on Agriculture” We are all suppose to tagged : Environment for All. But now few players and activist only congregate for solutions. Why? Are we chasing entrepreneurship competition for consumption? or Contribution? are we intuitive towards our environment at all?
    i am waiting for responses on my entrepreurship mail ([email protected])

    entrepreneur-essien (2019 Innovative Young Entrant in Best Idea Category)

  10. Let us remember “Goi Peace Declaration of all Life on Earth”

  11. Agriculture is what all of us should be embrace, campus member should be active in education

  12. I want to educate all members that Climate Change is causing water constraints in many agricultural regions across our mother Earth.

  13. I urge all campus members to embrace agriculture as part of our sustainable development

  14. Are you aware that Agriculture really link to Goal 15?

  15. The Rise of the Entrepreneur/Citizen Sector in Campus 2019

    Articles Published on 22/07/209 By Ephraim Essien (Nigeria) (Green Ribbon) is my idea 2019

    Check nuggets and key stories ahead

  16. I am truly honored to be with you. I would especially like to start with thanks to the YOUTH CITIZEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP COMPETITION members for your caring and for putting in the work that you do. I hope I will be able to contribute to your work by sharing an understanding of the very profound historical transformation the world is going through, and that we are all trying to serve. That is the transformation from the agricultural world, which produced very small surplus that only allowed very few people to be players, to a world where everyone has to be changemaker. If you imagine 5, 10, 15 years ahead in the context where the rate of change is accelerating logarithmically after 12,000 years of being relatively flat, you can just imagine how cruel it is for anyone not to be a changemaker.

  17. So I hope I will be able to expand on that insight: how is this happening; what are the barriers; what are some of the key answers to those barriers; and then move on to what the implications of this change are for us as individuals, for others we care about, for the institutions we are a part of, and ultimately of course for society.

  18. Before doing that I would like to introduce two social entrepreneurs to you very concretely because social entrepreneurship is very much at the cutting edge of this revolution and understanding of it is important. It will also help explain where our understanding comes from.

  19. Ashoka has roughly 2,500 of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs on every continent and every subject matter as our core community. These Ashoka Fellows are role models and mass recruiters of changemakers, which is key for their success.

  20. Let me start this part—what is a leading social entrepreneur—by asking you a question. What is the most powerful force in the world? I think it is pretty clear that it is a major pattern-changing idea, but only if it’s in the hands of an entrepreneur. It’s that combination that moves the world more than anything else. So let me then challenge you to see some of the patterns as I introduce these two stories.

  21. The first story is about Mary Gordon. Mary is a Canadian. She was elected a Fellow just short of three years ago. She saw a problem in the classes she was teaching in the public schools in Toronto. There was increasing number of children who could only respond to another child who made them uncomfortable with aggression, which of course invited aggression back from the other child, and you can predict where all that was leading. Every time a child went through that cycle the pattern would get deeper, and the probability of that child not being able to function in a world that requires a high level of skill in dealing with others increased. And of course the probability of the school being dysfunctional increased. Because Mary is an entrepreneur, she gave herself permission to see a problem that was obvious but no one was seeing. This is a clue as to one of the first patterns. Entrepreneurs give themselves permission to see and to think and to act.

  22. If you are an entrepreneur, you don’t want to solve it just for the children in your class. You want to change the whole society. Well, how do you change the education system? Everywhere in the world, it is notorious for not being the most innovative or fast-moving sector. So she knew it had to be a very simple idea. I’ll jump ahead to the results. Three years later, she’s gone from 2 schools to 2,000 schools in Canada; New Zealand has adopted the idea; and she has been approached by the Government of Japan for help.

  23. What is her idea? She asks only for one hour a month for 8 months of a class, and the younger the children the better. She brings an infant less than one year old, plus mom, plus a green blanket. The infant is the professor. The infant sits on the green blanket. The students have the responsibility, not the teacher, for figuring out what the professor is saying and later what the professor is feeling. You can imagine the children get into this very quickly. It has a huge impact. The Canadians actually have a measurement system for bullying. After those 8 hours, bullying rates come down and stay down. You could see that this is an idea and approach that could work anywhere in the world and Mary is out to make it work everywhere in the world. So that’s Case One.

  24. The second case is Rodrigo Baggio, who is a Brazilian. He loves computers like all people of his generation, but unlike most of his peers he went into the slums, the favelas behind where he lived and he saw that the young people there, although highly motivated, were being left completely behind. This is before there was a phrase “the digital divide.” As an entrepreneur, he saw patterns that were not the patterns of the stereotypes. He saw that the communities were competent, that they could organize, and that these were good people. He also saw that the students had plenty of motivation and they could learn if they were trusted to learn. His model for addressing the problem, the digital divide, asks the communities to do 95% of the work, to organize the space, to raise the money, to organize recruitment of students, and to hire the teachers. All he had to do is provide the software, some training and some old computers.

  25. With that simple insight, here is the curve of the growth of his organization in terms of number of students graduating. As you can see, it’s gone off the top of the chart 3 years ago. He is now in 15 countries in Latin America and Asia. I chose this example in part because he actually came to Japan and has demonstrated his work here because for Asia he needed Japan to provide the supply of second hand computers.

  26. Now let me tell you a story about Rodrigo. He is about 6’7” tall and about 3 inches wide. He arrived in Washington in his 20’s with this idea. His English was to say the least spotty, and he walked into the Inter-American Development Bank and said, “Please give me your computers,” and they gave him their old computers, which were very valuable. Then he went to the Brazilian Air Force and said, “You have warehouses because you buy all these military equipment from the U.S. Let me store my computers for free at your warehouse. By the way, would you please fly these computers to Brazil for free for me?” This was a time Brazil was in the middle of what they call the informatics policy. Brazil was going to make its own computers and so no computers were supposed to come in. Well these masses of computers sailed through customs. Now, what is going on here? Could you walk into the Japanese Air Force and ask them to do this for you? I would have a little trouble with the American Air Force, I can tell you.

  27. The heart of this is that when he was sitting and talking with the senior officials at the Inter-American Development Bank, they sort of heard the words that the transaction was going on at a much deeper level, which gets to the heart of what an entrepreneur is. They sensed that Rodrigo was completely married to this idea, and they knew that they could trust Rodrigo. They knew that he was a person of very good ethical fiber. That’s the transaction. Every entrepreneur is always asking people to do completely unreasonable things in conventional terms, and people do them because they know of that marriage and they trust the person.

  28. These two examples I think will give you a sense of what a social entrepreneur is and what some of the characteristics are. If you were an Ashoka nominator or on the selection panel, we would train you in these qualities. Is there a new idea that will change the pattern in the field at least on a continental level? If not, it’s not worth the time.

  29. Then there are four other qualities. First, is the person creative in goal setting and problem solving? Second, are they entrepreneurial? Are they unable to stop unless they have changed the whole society in an important way? That means they focus on the how-to’s as much as the vision, and they are open to listening to anything that needs to be changed and intuitively over time they keep changing it until it works. Third, once the idea has been demonstrated—once Mary has done this in two schools—will other people say, “Oh, that’s a really good idea. Let me try that?” Does the idea have legs, and if so, how far will it go? And finally, ethical fiber is absolutely critical, and that’s the last part of the story about Rodrigo.

  30. We do an evaluation of the results at the end of 5 years. Once Fellows have had a chance to have an impact, 97% are continuing full time pursuing their vision, 90% have had independent institutions copy their idea, and over half have already changed national policy. That last measure is more significant than it seems because a lot of Fellows do not need to change national policy to succeed.

  31. The point of this is we have to use judgment in making these choices. Our field is constantly being pressurized to make the mistake that business made of becoming too numbers focused. That is a mistake we don’t want to make. This is discipline judgment: 5 steps, different people, and clear criteria. We are able to get these results year after year in over 70 countries in every imaginable subject matter and they are very stable.

  32. Now, with that, let me expand on what I said before. An individual who is not able to cause change in a world where change is the dominant factor is not going to be a player. You may be a highly trained engineer or a doctor, but if you don’t know how to deal with change you’re going to be at sea increasingly year by year. And more importantly, what is the thing that people want to do in life more than anything else? We want to give and receive love and respect. That’s not something you do in theory; its something you do in action, and change-making is the highest level—the highest opportunity to give love and respect. If you don’t have the ability to do that, how much have we deprived you of? What is wrong with the society that says only a few people are going to be brought up and given the tools to be changemakers? What is wrong with us in managing our institutions that way? This is a huge transition we have to make, and this is the essential challenge.

  33. It’s the same thing with institutions. We now have millions of institutions and every one of them has to change or they will die. There is a huge competition for the limited supply of changemakers, which is one of the reasons income distributions are getting worse and worse all over the world. Ironically that means that the institutions become more hierarchical because they’re so dependent on the few people with those skills. This doesn’t work for individuals or institutions. We have to make it to an everyone a changemaker world. This is a completely different world than the world of the last 12,000 years. We have to manage differently at all levels, and that’s a challenge for everyone.

  34. Let me ask you a second question. What is the key factor for success for any human institution? The advantages of technology and marketing are getting shorter and shorter and shorter. Their half lives are shrinking as the rate of change accelerates. The one sustainable key factor for success is the proportion of changemakers in a community. That’s true for a company, a city, a country, or an ethnic group. Think ahead 5 or 10 years with that logarithmically increasing rate of change. If any institution you are a part of or care about is not moving in this direction, it is in trouble.

  35. How do we get from here to there? The leading social entrepreneurs are absolutely critical. They are role models. Every leading social entrepreneur has to have thousands of people take their idea and run with it. Rodrigo could not succeed in having a million plus people coming out of these schools right now if he had not persuaded hundreds and thousands of people and all these different countries, all these different slums to say “Rodrigo’s idea works. I’m going to stand up and do it.” They are local changemakers. They become role models. Some of them will become the next generation of major entrepreneurs. So that’s a very core mechanism.

  36. What is the single biggest barrier of getting from here to there? It’s how we treat young people. Elite young people have always been treated in a different way from everyone else. Certainly when I was growing up, I got the message that I was going to be a competent person. I was encouraged to take initiative. That is not what happens to most young people. Whether in the classroom, work, sports, or extracurricular activities, the message is, “We adults are in charge of everything, thank you. You’re pretty irresponsible and incompetent. Stay out of the way.” Now it’s the same debilitating message that colonial people got, that women used to get, that in the United States the African Americans used to get before the civil rights movement.

  37. Mary’s example is the first step. You are going to have children be marginalized for life unless they master applied empathy. No one wants to play with someone who is going to cause harm. It doesn’t matter what technical skill they have, they’re out of the game. By the time children become young people, which is roughly 12, they then have to move on and master the next level, which is empathy, teamwork and leadership together. You don’t master these things in theory. You can’t read a book. You have to actually do it. This is like riding a bicycle except much more complex.

  38. How many young people have the experience that they are encouraged, they’re shown role models, they’re helped to have their own idea, build their own organization and leave their middle school or high school changed initiating a tutoring service, a dance academy, a virtual radio station or whatever? We know that almost all the Ashoka Fellows around the world had that experience as teenagers.

  39. We are building a movement which is very powerful and very simple. You can find out more about it at Youth or care of the Ashoka site. The goal is to have 20% of all young people in the world have this experience. That means that we will have a work force that’s 20% changemakers 10 years from now.

  40. So what is the relevancy of this historical change? This is the most wonderful career to move into. We’re growing jobs at 3 times the rate of the rest of the economy. Just to give you a couple of statistics: in Brazil we grew from 5,000 citizen groups to a million from 1980 to 2000. In the OECD countries we are growing jobs as I said at 3 times the rate. In Germany we are the only sector that is net growing jobs since 1990, while business and government are shrinking. This is happening because the citizen sector has become as entrepreneurial and competitive as business. It’s catching up very quickly with business. So this is a great career, congruent with values, fast growth, wonderful colleagues, and almost no glass ceilings because the demand is so much greater than the supply. It is obviously a huge opportunity, not only for yourself but also for other people you may know.

  41. Second, think about the young people you know: the 12 year olds to 14 year olds. Are they being powerful now? Think about your niece or your nephew. If they aren’t, you should be worried about that as much as you would be if they were not mastering math or language, because this is actually more important. That’s an immediate relevancy as I’m sure everyone here cares about at least one young person. Ask yourself if that young person is being powerful, that is, being a changemaker now.

  42. Third, think about the institutions you care about. Take business. You have a large citizen’s sector that’s now entrepreneurial and competitive, and it is growing much faster than business. Ashoka is now working in five different industries to demonstrate that when you take a business system that has worked separately from social system for three centuries, and you put the strong parts of each together, everyone benefits dramatically. The companies that are doing this, for example, are Lafarge and Cemex in the building area. We’re doing this for urban construction, rural irrigation, insurance, timber etc. Well, this is only the beginning of the changes that are going to happen. Also, in Government, where are the new ideas going to come from? How are you going to change the system? This is your natural ally, and you could help with that.

  43. Then finally, this is obviously profoundly important for society. If you think that the problems are outrunning the solutions, you may well be right. But once we get to everyone a changemaker world, that can’t possibly be the case, because when something is stuck, everyone, everywhere is going to change it like smart white blood cell. Some people will say, “Boy this sounds very chaotic. Everyone a changemaker—how is that ever going to work?” I think this is something this group in particular would understand intuitively. People want to express love and respect in action, and we can trust them to be a changemaker for the good. We’ve got to help build the institutional arrangements to make that possible. That’s the management challenge of the moment. The people want to be contributors. And if we can let them, we have a great future and that’s what I think we’re all working on together.

  44. Environmentalist and Activists in our campus must make sure the delve and congregate faster with the 2 above entrepreneurs stories i gave from Canada and Brazil…Thank you my 2019 fellow campus members….entrepreneurial education is my vocation and job now! I don’t know about you entrants!!!

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Timeline 2019

March 18, 2019
Competition launch.
Entries are welcomed
May 15, 2019
Voting & commenting begins for all
July 31, 2019
Deadlines for entries
August 31, 2019
Deadlines for votes & comments
September 5, 2019
10 finalists announced in both categories
September 5, 2019
People’s Choice Prize winners announced
September 15, 2019
Deadline for receipt of videos from finalists in both
October 5, 2019
Deadline for Panel of Judges’ selection of the winners
October 19, 2019
Winners announced at Entrepreneurship Summit in Berlin

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